Recently I dropped in on a group of men I used to pray with weekly years ago. They are active in a business men’s ministry in Southern California where I came to faith back in the early 1980s. These are such good men, pursuing the Kingdom in their respective worlds of business.
I visited and participated in a discussion where the question on the table was something to this effect: “How can we become more engaged and intentional in the Kingdom work available to each of us?”
It’s really quite astounding that men (myself included) who have walked in their faith for decades can become deer in the headlights when confronted with such a question! Men quickly began telling stories of all they ways they had shared the Gospel, from speaking in pulpits to one-on-one encounters. These stories went on for several minutes, until the facilitator said, “Yes, but how do we have more passion and excitement in what we do?” He—and we—could hear in the voices of these men a kind of defensive tone as they described how they were actively and personally involved in sharing their faith.
When I was asked for my thoughts, I began by saying that when I share my faith, I have to search my heart for the motive out of which I am attempting to advance the Kingdom—sometime my motives are honestly not as noble as I might like to pretend. Some days I really suck at my faith, because my motives are really more about me and how I can exalt myself in appearing to advance God’s Kingdom.
But to get my heart into a motive that brings acclamation to God rather than to myself, I have to stop and ask, “What is motivating me in this opportunity?” It becomes pretty simple, as I have learned to name my motives in generally one of two categories: a motive centered on myself or a motive centered in love.
The motive of love is not turned on by some switch or lever; acting out of my flesh is what compels me to keep trying to find that switch. But the reality of this search comes only out of the truth of 1 John 4:19. “We love because he first loved us.” I cannot really love others until I experience the love of God.
Can I repeat that? I cannot love others until I experience the love of God. Experience is key—and not just knowledge of God loving us. Experience comes out of a relational intimacy with God, and when we experience the love of the Father as a beloved son or daughter, that is where the noble motives of love live.
Again, I suck at this many days, but as I can name my motive, it sends me back to the Father to experience Him. And that is where the Kingdom can advance.
Father…Son…Holy Spirit, keep me close and give me eyes and ears to see and hear the ways You are throwing Your love toward me, that I may be aware of Your love and receive the capacity to act out of the motive of love.